(Posted Nov. 7, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
London city council is looking to make repairs and updates to the former Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) garage at 1416 U.S. Route 42.
The city is leasing the property from ODOT for $1. The city’s street department moved to the garage from its long-time High Street location last month. The fire department is using the land for training exercises and some of the building space for storage.
It’s possible the city also would use part of the facility as a second site for fire and emergency medical services (EMS), said Mayor Patrick Closser. The facility sits on the south side of the railroad tracks that transect the city. The current fire station sits on the north side of the tracks, next to the old street department.
In September, London split from the Madison County Emergency Medical District and is in the process of creating its own EMS department to operate in conjunction with the fire department. The fire department is expanding its operations into the former street department space.
City council is considering legislation that would move $100,000 from one fire department fund to another for repairs and updates at both the ODOT garage and the former street department space. The legislation will be up for a third reading and potential vote at council’s Nov. 15 meeting.
Roof and heating repairs are the top priorities at the ODOT site, Closser said. Bill Long, head of the street department, said he and his staff have completed some of the other necessary repairs themselves.
About four years ago, ODOT vacated the property as part of a consolidation of its garage sites. ODOT then offered to sell the site to the city for $300,000. Closser was on council at the time. He said council was not prepared at that time to spend that kind of money, so they voted against the purchase.
Approximately a year ago, ODOT approached the city again, offering to sell the property for $1. Council agreed to the purchase, but then ODOT discovered a glitch with the deed, which dates to the early 1900s, before ODOT’s land split with the prisons. While the deed situation is sorted out, ODOT is leasing the property to the city.
The city plans to purchase the property for $1 once the deed can be transferred, said Rex Castle, city council member. The property sits just outside the city limits. The city plans to request annexation of the property into the city, but cannot do so until it owns the property.